A fine collection of Irving Berlin’s best music! This is the second volume in our ‘Words & Music’ album series and includes 22 masterpieces from Irving Berlin, ‘the father of the American popular song’. Featuring many well known numbers from ‘Top Hat’ and ‘On The Avenue’.
“The Cole Porter disc is sublime. The same must be said of the Irving Berlin and Noel Coward presentations. These three fill my evenings with the joy of original artists and perfect reproduction of sound the way it was.” Reg MacDonald, Australia
Israel Baline may not have been born in the United States, but there is no other music on earth that sounds more American than his. He’d been born in Teemun, in Russia, but a pogrom mounted against the Jews forced the family to emigrate. They settled on the South side of New York, and the young composer was forced to earn a living on the streets, as accompanist to a blind musician, when his father died prematurely. Now renamed Irving Berlin, he embarked on his main career as a songwriter, and subsequently as his own publisher – he was to have one of the longest of all careers in the world of music. For the next hundred years and more, the name of Irving Berlin meant – as it still means – American music at its best.
For the classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film ‘Top Hat’ Irving Berlin came up with a zingy title tune and the caressing ballad Cheek To Cheek. For the former we offer the understated elegance and chic sophistication of the unique sound of the Savoy Hotel under the Direction of Carroll Gibbons, seated at the Piano. The latter is presented by the wonderful close harmony stylings of the first of the great girl groups – the Boswell Sisters – Helvetia (Vet), Martha and arranger Connie, the latter a victim of polio who worked from a wheelchair.
Blue Skies was originally an interpolation in a show by other hands called ‘Betty’, where it was sung by Belle Baker – as was the hit of the show. It was quickly taken up, and featured in the first part-talkie film ‘The Jazz Singer’, followed by five appearances over the next twenty or so years, culminating in one actually called ‘Blue Skies’ which starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire – two artistes who have good reason to be grateful to this master songwriter. Here is a fine version of the song by Hoboken’s gift to the world of song, Francis Albert Sinatra. In the film of ‘Blue Skies’ Bing Crosby recalled a number of fine Berlin masterpieces. One of them was the 1933 How Deep Is the Ocean? and he sings it here for you now.